There are at least 99 thousand known species of fungi in the world, and scientists think that there are at least a total of 1.5 million… which means 1 million and 401 thousand species of fungi have yet to be found!
For a time, fungi puzzled taxonomists (the scientists who drop everything into groups). First placed with the plants, fungi have since been given their own ‘kingdom’ to rule. Unlike plants, fungi cannot make their own food (they feed on living or dead organisms) and their cell walls are not composed of lignin, but chitin (the same substance found in the exoskeletons of insects).
Did you know that some fungi, like yeast, are microscopic and single-celled while others are reported to be the largest and perhaps most ancient living organisms in the world, with their underground network spreading over hundreds of hectares?
Fungi produce an array of fruiting bodies — from teeny, tiny knobs on the ends of visible bread mould to giant bright red toadstools that look like something straight out of a fairy tale. The fruiting body’s primary function is to launch the next generation, in the form of spores, out into the world. Spores that fall on favourable locations start the process all over again (from http://www.kidsdiscover.com/teacherresources/fungi/).
Amongst New Zealand fungi, large bracket or shelf fungi are common in Fiordland mature beech forests and some of their fruiting bodies may grow for many years on the trunks of living and dead trees. Bracket fungi were harvested by Māori for use in fire-starting and fire-carrying, because they smouldered for hours!
What are fungi? http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/fungi/page-1
Learn how to make paper toadstools https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKv9ICYAKzU
Watch these videos
What is a fungus? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5rluxtABGA
The dirt on decomposers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB61rfeeAsM